When The Apology Doesn't Come
Gen 50:16-17 So they sent this message to Joseph: "Before your father died, he instructed us to say to you: 'Please forgive your brothers for the great wrong they did to you--for their sin in treating you so cruelly.' So we, the servants of the God of your father, beg you to forgive our sin."
Joseph had already forgiven his brothers even before they apologized. But what if they had never apologized? What should we do if we never receive an apology from a family member who has hurt us? If a parent passes away without ever acknowledging the hurt that they caused, how do we keep from living in that hurt place for the rest of our lives? How do we move past that?
Maybe the greatest earthly good God will do through the things you have suffered will be in someone else’s life, and not your own. As Paul writes,
(2 Cor 1:3-4) God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.
Joseph counted all of his suffering worth it compared with all God did through it for others — every malicious intent in his brothers, every act of mistreatment in slavery, every unjust day in jail.
Christian, your parents did not get in the way of God’s plans for you. They were God’s plan for you. Can you look back at your life, with Joseph, and say that? Ultimately, my parents did not send me here; God sent me here. Whatever my parents meant for me, God meant it for good. He did, he is, and he will — in every hardship and in every relationship.
Don’t wait for those who have hurt you to apologize before you exercise the freedom Christ has already purchased for you. Forgiveness doesn't depend on something someone else does. It's a decision you make to allow Christ's sacrifice for the sins of those who have hurt you to satisfy the pain. It can be healthy to uncover the roots of our specific pains or weaknesses — biological, historical, or otherwise — but true healing will not finally come from identifying causes or assigning guilt, but from trusting God.